Steep Canyon Rangers have risen to the
top of the Bluegrass world slowly but surely. Formed while college
students in North Carolina (and now based near Asheville, N.C.), the
group represents the younger guard in Bluegrass music, a band that is
fluent in the traditional side of the genre yet open-minded and
contemporary in their approach.
If there’s a commemorative tablet
somewhere inscribed with the names of the most unlikely people to be
drawn into the Grateful Dead’s musical universe, Jackie Greene should be
chiseled on it along with Pop/Jazz pianist Bruce Hornsby and former
Tubes keyboardist Vince Welnick.
Rodney Crowell’s visit to Cincinnati this
week might seem to be just a routine return of an “old hand”
Roots-music singer/songwriter — his first solo album, Ain’t Living Long Like This, was released in 1978. But there are some dramatic new developments in Crowell’s long career.
Ace guitarist Robben Ford has always had
the chops. The California native has a resume that includes five Grammy
Award nominations, as well as music made with a list of artists ranging
from George Harrison, Miles Davis and Phil Lesh to Joni Mitchell, Bonnie
Raitt and Susan Tedeschi.
The cover for The War on Drugs’ latest album, Lost in the Dream,
finds frontman Adam Granduciel looking down pensively, his fuzzy,
mop-headed silhouette semi-obscured by light flowing through a window.
The gauzy image is the perfect encapsulation of the Philadelphia band’s
brand of melancholic Psych Pop, a sound at once familiar and tough to
entirely pin down.
Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter have known
each other since attending junior high together in upstate New York in
the late ’90s. Their friendship came in handy when, in 2007, Carter was
looking to start a new musical project, one in which Hip Hop beats could
commingle with atmospheric Indie Pop. Enter Phantogram.
The Detroit Electronic duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.,
which brings its counter-intuitive name and fun Quirk Groove jams to the
20th Century Theater this week,
insists on keeping its music light and breezy, infectious and upbeat.
EDM this is not, as the band takes more cues from 1960s Beatles-esque
Pop and New Wave than Skrillex.
In 2010, Hugo Manuel debuted Chad Valley — a
project named after a British brand of toys and an area in Birmingham —
with a self-titled EP. A year later, he issued another EP, Equatorial Ultravox, and in 2012 his first full-length, Young Hunger, landed. Young Hunger demonstrates
the warmth of Caribou shining through, even though that inspiration stands in the shadow of the
pronounced influence of 1980s Pop.